Edward Guglielmino – Late At Night

Listening to Edward’s debut album you get a sense that these are not simply a bunch of tracks strung together in a basement, but something more tangible, as if he has been waiting years to say –  “This sound is still cool people!’ and I’d have to agree. Late At Night is a stunning work of emotive pop and an eclectic statement, two years in the making with Brisbane producer Matt Redlich at the helm.

Caught In A Landslide opens the album like an underwater spellbinder, as Ed croons in falsetto ‘caught in a landslide, I was wasting all my time’ and molds a hypnotic introduction, rising to a psychedelic crescendo and preparing the listener for a unique journey. Fail With Me erupts perfectly with driving acoustic guitar and a handsome rock salute, ringing echoes of The Cult, while maintaining the self-deprecating lyrical humour that anchors much of Guglielmino’s material; never surrendering to cryptic babble and remaining lucid.

The radio-esque Rhythm Of Life sits perfectly as track three and it’s no surprise that this is a chosen single. The song is a brilliant masterstroke of pop/rock sensibility and is never overshadowed by its influences, but rather highlighted with its craftsmanship and catchy melody. There’s maturity and confidence in the structure of this album, and not surprising given Ed has had an endless run of east coast and international tours over the last few years, placing him on the tongues of punters and industry titans.

The album takes a beautiful dive into an atmospheric wormhole with the stunning Lion In Your Bed, conjuring moments of a once less commercial U2 mixed with the sentiments of Grant Lee Buffalo. Edward really enjoys casting dreamlike imagery while delivering each personal account with a healthy dose of cynicism. The title track Late At Night dances about like a firefly in a neon city, acoustics pulsating, surrounded by electric flurries, as you stagger, bewildered, into a chorus designed to drift you away.

No Body Is Perfect falls together like a drunk poet, with some offbeat percussion, 80s retro- synth, and a very live energy in the studio, almost as if this number was in fact recorded during an after party at Ed’s home, and you have to raise your glass as Ed hollers ‘Nobody’s perfect, not even me’ with smirking wit. Edward reminds us with such unconventional moments of clarity, that he is not afraid to experiment and make an album which takes a few twists and turns.

And turn he does; Status Quo is a fine example of the avant-garde folk artist so many have grown to love, as he wistfully, yet mockingly portrays his own experience in the music world ‘I’ve learnt many things while waiting in line for my time to shine, don’t challenge the status quo, I have learned to flow’ he carefully murmurs. The coda providing electro-pop bleeps and whirls, drawing familiarity to the sounds Zach Condon (of Beirut fame) creates. Star Shining Bright bursts out like the first rays of the morning sun with Ed’s voice animating the tonic of Robert Smith as he contemplates the night before and pleads with his muse to understand/comfort him, and with a fittingly strained vocal, it almost could be the next morning, ragged and worn.

Take Me Home Tonite takes the listener down a scenic route and works perfectly as the album detour. Sung beautifully by the sultry Nicoletta Panebianco, reflecting the dark seduction of PJ Harvey with haunting keyboard and drenched guitar, accompanied by the sound of a ticking clock, initialing the background noise of a rainy city awakening to first light. Crushed By A Late Night Dream closes the album’s late night ride with the echoing and swirling of guitars and synth as the rain hits the windscreen and the streetlights leave a jagged trail behind, blurring all vision, and we are simply left with nothing but the hum of nocturnal life, possibly from a hotel room somewhere in the world.

If there is a theme at work on Late At Night, it lies in the albums title. Everything here seems to take place in hotel rooms, bedrooms, and bars and in the smoky streets of 3am. Ed has a reputation of doing things his own way, and he is unflinching and uncompromising in his approach, almost creating an enigma of a contemporary artist, not bound by commercial success yet still in favor of creating catchy, accessible songs.

Edward Guglielmino has crafted a cohesive, intimate and gorgeously obscure masterpiece, merely for the fact that whether he recorded a vocal take in a hotel room or in the early hours of a subway in Rome, he has remained authentic as an artist and a true visionary.